So much has happened since my last blog post in March. We of the Samuel Peaches Peripatetic Players have been busy behind the screens meeting virtually, generating material, and exploring current events to create artistic performance. The most important question, however, is:
How are you?
Can you believe that we are only halfway through 2020? What are some moments that you’d like to remember or let go of? These seven months have brought a myriad of life experiences to the forefront of our lives, and I invite you to reflect on what has happened in your life as I reflect what’s been happening for us.
The COVID-19 pandemic quickly thrust our theater company into an online forum, something that we chose to embrace whole-heartedly as a creative challenge. Our #POOOC2020 was such a fun experience, and what brought me the most joy was trying to come up with Obstacles for folks to do at home, and find something delightful inside. All of the Obstacles we created were designed to be done at home with common objects. We had “Gear Up to Get Down”, a dancing competition, and a DIY At-Home Obstacle course. We celebrated live on Zoom and Facebook on April 5th with our “Celebration of Obstacles Overcome” and had a great time.
We had been working towards producing our “main-stage marquee” show, a sequel to our last show, A Lord of a Ring In A Suitcase from Summer 2019. On Wednesday nights you would have found us virtually developing a script, making each other laugh, and participating in creative development exercises with our newest ensemble members, Kenny Scott and Leigh Rondon-Davis (check out our ensemble bio page for updates!).
With health restrictions changing so frequently, we decided to change course and started thinking of ways we could present a “To-Go” show to smaller audiences.
And then, in July, our community and our country were shocked into action by the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many other names to count. We reached out to our community, as did many other groups we admire, to provide resources to start discussions about examining racism and systematic violence against Black people, and how we can work to end racism within ourselves, our ensemble, and our society. While the work has been vital for us, the true intent is to build up our capabilities as an ensemble, and as individuals, to defy white supremacist culture, in all its forms; forms that we had unwittingly implemented into our regular way of making art. This kind of behavior, this kind of structure, has been learned and normalized and we are actively trying to unlearn and unnormalize it within our organization.
What does that all mean?
Personally, I’ve been reading great books, including Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America’s Most Powerful Mobster by Stephen L. Carter, and How To Be An Antiracist Ibram X. Kendi. I’ve also been attending virtual meetings through SURJ Bay Area.
Administratively, we’ve been examining the “power structures” within the ensemble and learning more (and working towards) consensus-based decision making. We are taking turns being the agenda maker, facilitator, note taker, and time keeper in our meetings and rehearsals. (For a recent agenda I created, I brushed off some old improv games from college – there! Using my degree!)
And yet, still, with all of these things going on, there is one thing most on my mind:
You, dear audience.
How are you? I hope you are safe, and healthy. I hope you are finding ways to thrive in your home and in your community, and raising up those around you.
We can’t wait to see you in person, and until that time, remember –
“In the end it’s only a passing thing, this shadow; even darkness must pass.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings